Ask PR group to drop cruelty campaign from awards shortlist

26 May

ICABS is calling on the Public Relations Institute of Ireland (PRII) to drop the RISE campaign from its 2011 Awards shortlist. In an email to the group’s CEO, we highlighted that the campaign was criticised for spreading misinformation and that the deerhunt ban it fought was widely welcomed by the Irish public.

In an email to PRII CEO, Gerry Davis, we questioned the inclusion of RISE on the shortlist for the so-called 2011 Awards for Excellence in Public Relations.

“The RISE campaign was a highly reprehensible campaign,” we stated. “It attempted to block a ban on the Ward Union carted deer hunt – one of Ireland’s worst examples of cruelty to animals. This internationally condemned activity, now thankfully illegal, involved taking out a pack of hounds and chasing a terrified, farm-bred deer across the countryside. Carted deer hunting was cruel from beginning to end. Among the victims of the Ward Union were a deer that died from fractured ribs, a deer that died as a result of ‘dry drowning’ having fallen into a quarry, a deer that dropped dead with a ruptured aorta, a deer choked to death in a wood and a deer that died from a ruptured aortic aneurism.”

The RISE campaign aimed to convince the public and politicians that “Hunting is not cruel to the deer” and “is not a danger to the public”. We have presented Mr Davis with evidence showing that both of these claims are untrue.

This includes details of an incident in December 2009 in which a hunted deer jumped on to a road, was struck by a car, smashed into its windscreen and suffered a fractured leg before hobbling away in agony. It was later caught and shot in the head. The occupants of the car were said to be badly shaken and lucky to be alive.

Referring to Section 7 of the Code of Lisbon to which the PRII subscribes (“Any attempt to deceive public opinion or its representatives is forbidden”) and to the Code of Athens which discourages the circulation of information which is “not based on established and ascertainable facts”, we pointed out that the RISE campaign was criticised for scaremongering and spreading misinformation.

Meath Councillor, Shane Cassells, is on record as saying; “I was very pleased to speak out against the MISTRUTHS which the RISE campaign are using to try and advance their cause.”

Senator Ivana Bacik too was unhappy with RISE, describing their tactics as “UNACCEPTABLE” and stating that they engaged in scaremongering (Seanad debate, 30th June 2010).

Government Minister, John Gormley, was also very critical of the RISE campaign. In the Winter 2010 edition of Country Sports and Country Life magazine, he is quoted as saying “RISE’s campaign was one not based on any foundation of respect. Its supporters and representatives continued to make a series of FALSE CLAIMS that the Greens’ policy was opposed to shooting and angling, which is simply NOT TRUE. RISE supporters went to extreme lengths. For example cars outside a church belonging to people attending a religious service organised by Mary White TD were covered with leaflets saying Greens RIP. In another instance eggs were pelted at cars.”

The Irish Times of June 29, 2010 reported that “members of the Rural Ireland Says Enough! (RISE!) campaign group…booed and jeered” Minister John Gormley and Minister of State Mary White as they attended the opening of a library in Borris. The report outlined that eggs were placed on the bonnet and inside the interior of the Minister’s State car and that GardaI had to remove Rise! stickers which protesters attached to the state car. Minister Gormley described the protesters’ behaviour as “MALICIOUS” and “UNACCEPTABLE”.

In the Offaly Express of May 11, 2010, the then Councillor, and current TD, Barry Cowen, similarly criticised RISE. He stated: “Having recently attended a public meeting organised by RISE, I feel it necessary to re-affirm the Bills’ contents and refute the claims by RISE that there is some wider agenda…RISE are WRONG to suggest there is some wider agenda. Minister Gormley recently confirmed the legislation will not have any implications for other country pursuits such as fox hunting, hare hunting, hare coursing or deer stalking. This bill only affects those involved in stag hunting, any suggestion otherwise by RISE is MISLEADING and FALSE.”

ICABS has suggested that RISE could be replaced on the shortlist with the successful, positive, public relations campaigns by animal welfare groups which were instrumental in securing a historic ban on carted deer hunting.

“This campaign was based on an approach the Public Relations Institute would surely favour,” we remarked. “This involved the presentation of evidence-backed facts, a respectful approach to lobbying politicians, good-natured demonstrations and helpful collaboration with members of the public negatively affected by hunting.”

ACTION ALERT

Please lodge a complaint with the CEO of the Public Relations Institute of Ireland and ask them to drop the Rise campaign from its shortlist.

Mr Gerry Davis
Chief Executive
Public Relations Institute of Ireland
8 Upper Fitzwilliam Street
Dublin 2

gerry@prii.ie

With a copy to: Barry Kenny, President, PRII National Council – barry.kenny@irishrail.ie
Global Alliance for Public Relations and Communications, of which the PRII is a member – info@globalalliancepr.org

Tel: +353 1 661 8004
Fax: +353 1 676 4562

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